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Baseball fields dreams in 2010

Thrilling plays on the diamond, such as this slide into second during Babe Ruth district baseball action, highlighted the summer months of 2010. Thrilling plays on the diamond, such as this slide into second during Babe Ruth district baseball action, highlighted the summer months of 2010. Tribune photo by Greg Wise

Powell teams turn heads at regional events

(Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series recapping the sports highlights of the region in 2010. The series started on Tuesday and will conclude next Tuesday.)

Baseball is America’s pasttime and Powell is Wyoming’s baseball capital. Anyone who didn’t know either of those facts probably didn’t spend a day at the ball fields during the summer of 2010.

One year after the Powell Pioneers American Legion baseball team and the Powell Babe Ruth All-Stars baseball team invigorated the community by winning state titles and advancing to regional competition, the teams decided to make it a doubleheader. So, in 2010, both the Pioneers and the All-Stars once again captured state titles.

 

 

Both did so in commanding fashion. The Pioneers topped the 40-win mark for the second straight year, losing only to Class AA Cheyenne Post 6, a 50-win program that went on to compete for a spot in the American Legion World Series, before claiming another Class A state championship. The All-Stars defended their home field, serving as state tournament hosts, by run-ruling three of four opponents before toppling Rock Springs in the championship game.

The Pioneers would go on to finish as the Northwest region runner-up in Bozeman, Mont. After beginning the tournament with a loss to Ashland, Ore., the Pioneers successfully fought off elimination through the entire consolation side of the bracket to earn themselves a second crack at the Pilots of Ashland. Unfortunately, Powell was again defeated, but the runner-up finish was the best regional finish in program history, earning the team a pennant.

The All-Stars’ trip to Klamath Falls, Ore., for Pacific Northwest regional competition went almost as well. After losing their first contest to a last-inning rally, the All-Stars won two of their next three in pool play to earn the right to compete in the semifinals, possibly becoming the first Wyoming team to do so.

The team eventually lost in that semifinal contest, but returned home to an excited community with medals to show for their accomplisments.

Baseball wasn’t the only excitement being provided in the middle months of 2010, however. Track season brought with it its usual share of success for Powell High School.

Folks suspected it could be another strong season for PHS when the school qualified 13 events to the mid-season Wyoming Track Classic. When 11 of those 13 events finished among the top four, those suspicions were confirmed.

As the year went on, Powell’s boys earned a regional title and finished as the 3A state runner-up. The Panther girls were regional runner-up before placing sixth at a cold and rainy state meet in Casper.

Kyle Sullivan captured his second state outdoor high jump title. He also joined with Panthers Colby Gilmore, Zach Thiel and Josh Cragoe to win gold in the 4x400 relay. Not to be outdone, the female foursome of Brooke Nisley,

Skye Albert, Alyssa Rodriguez and Kassey MacDonald matched them with a gold medal performance in the 4x800 that shattered their season-best time.

Accomplishments aplenty could also be found in the rodeo arena. Northwest College rodeo coach Del Nose was named the Big Sky Region coach of the year, then resigned from the long-held position at season’s end. Before going though, Nose coached three more Trappers at the College National Finals Rodeo as bull rider Cayd Kluesner and breakaway ropers Cody Proctor and Haily Hamlin represented the community.

Also competing at the CNFR was Powell native Kaleb Asay, who earned a spot in the saddle bronc while representing Vernon College. Asay made the most of the opportunity, earning himself a share of the national title.

Later in the summer, it was Asay’s older brother — professional bull rider Kanin — making headlines. Asay placed third at the summer’s Xtreme Bulls tour stop in Cody over the Fourth of July weekend. During that competition, Asay brought local rodeo fans to their feet by unleashing a 92-point ride in the finals that stood as the high-point ride for the event.

In May, Northwest College named Trappers Ricardo Andreotti and Kati Oliverson as the Trapper Award winners for 2009-2010. Wrestling national champion Landon Harris and volleyball standout Irelis Ilarraza were recognized as the male and female athletes of the year for the college.

The summer was also a time of accomplishment on the links. Cody native and University of Wyoming junior Gabe Maier qualified for NCAA regional competition, becoming one of a very small number of Cowboy golfers to reach that stage.

At the Powell Golf Club, a different sort of rare event took place in July as, in the space of two weeks, a pair of nine-year-olds, Powell’s Reece Hackenberg and Laramie’s Alex Flores, recorded holes in one at the local course.

The youthful aces were two of four such shots reported to the newspaper during the 2010 season.

And, as if winning state titles and playng in regional events wasn’t enough, the Powell Pioneers carved one more piece of baseball notoriety for themselves in 2010 when the team exploded for 32 runs at Park County rival Cody.

The tally was the highest offensive output in any Legion game this past summer and were believed at the time to be the most ever tallied by a Powell American Legion program.

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